About a year after I became a mom, a BMW SUV was "ditched" by a car thief on my residential...
About a year after I became a mom, a BMW SUV was "ditched" by a car thief on my residential street -- with a baby sitting in the backseat, strapped in his carseat. The thief had apparently watched the baby's mom leave the SUV running outside of a preschool, where she was dropping off her older child. The mom worked at the gym where I belonged at the time (ah, memories of going to the gym) and was certainly a responsible woman and a good mom. I didn't know her personally, but several people there did. Everyone who spoke of her talked about her excellent mothering. She simply thought that she could step away from her running vehicle for two minutes. Sadly, she couldn't. I was reminded of this incident today when I read a news article about a couple who literally beat a thief when he quickly jumped behind the wheel of their running vehicle and attempted to steal it...with their six month old baby in the backseat.
Police said on Wednesday that the near-tragedy happened Monday night as the family was moving to Missouri from Colorado and stopped at a Kansas City convenience store for gas. The couple left their six-month-old baby girl in their car with the engine running as they talked with friends who were putting gas into a moving van loaded with their belongings. (Source)
Never underestimate the superhuman power of a mom and dad who are protecting their child. The mom broke the car window with her elbow and was dragged several feet. The dad jumped through the broken window and kicked the man in the head until he ran from the vehicle. In both cases -- the incident in my neighborhood and this one at the gas station -- the baby was unharmed and ended up safely with his parents. If I had to guess, neither thief knew there was a baby in the backseat when they jumped into a running car to steal it. At least, in the case of the car that was left in my neighborhood, I'm certain of it. The vehicle was ditched less than a mile from where it was stolen, presumably after the thief realized there was a baby in the backseat. Car theft is one thing...kidnapping is another. Regardless of what a car thief is intending when he steals a car with a baby in strapped in his carseat, it happens. And it happens that quickly and that easily. I share these stories not to pass judgment on the moms (and dads) who leave their children in the car momentarily. How often have we all done something -- whether it's running to the linen closet for a towel with our toddler standing outside of a bathtub that is filling with water or running back into the house to grab a forgotten item with our kids in the car, outside our own home -- that could have ended badly? While the chances are so slim and the likelihood nearly nonexistent, bad things DO happen. These aren't stories of parents who leave their kids in the car so they can hit the local bar for an hour to booze it up. (Because yes, we hear those, too.) No, these are stories of parents that care, that are not neglectful. They are stories of parents who make normal, quick decisions every single day - tiny, split-second choices that can have disastrous consequences. You might even think, "Of course I'd never leave my baby in the car at a gas station." But think of the car that was stolen from my neighborhood with the baby in the back. This was highly unusual for our little area of town, and especially odd for the car to be ditched in my immediate neighborhood, which was gated. My point? It can happen anywhere. Now that the weather has cooled considerably, it's harder to take your baby out of the car seat and bundle him up in his winter coat, especially just to run into the house or into the gas station store to pay the attendant -- things that take only minutes, if that. It is easier to leave the car running, the heat blasting. But don't. I share these stories so that you -- a perfectly attentive and good parent -- have them in the back of your mind on that one occasion when you might think, "I'm going to be one second. It will be fine." Because it probably would be fine. But what if weren't? Some things are not worth the risk -- in this case, the potential trade-off for convenience is way too serious.

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